Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Nutrition and bone health projects funded by the UK Food Standards Agency: have they helped to inform public health policy?

  • Margaret Ashwell (a1), Elaine Stone (a2), John Mathers (a3), Stephen Barnes (a4), Juliet Compston (a5), Roger M. Francis (a6), Tim Key (a7), Kevin D. Cashman (a8), Cyrus Cooper (a9), Kay Tee Khaw (a10), Susan Lanham-New (a11), Helen Macdonald (a12), Ann Prentice (a13), Martin Shearer (a14) and Alison Stephen (a13)...

The UK Food Standards Agency convened an international group of expert scientists to review the Agency-funded projects on diet and bone health in the context of developments in the field as a whole. The potential benefits of fruit and vegetables, vitamin K, early-life nutrition and vitamin D on bone health were presented and reviewed. The workshop reached two conclusions which have public health implications. First, that promoting a diet rich in fruit and vegetable intakes might be beneficial to bone health and would be very unlikely to produce adverse consequences on bone health. The mechanism(s) for any effect of fruit and vegetables remains unknown, but the results from these projects did not support the postulated acid–base balance hypothesis. Secondly, increased dietary consumption of vitamin K may contribute to bone health, possibly through its ability to increase the γ-carboxylation status of bone proteins such as osteocalcin. A supplementation trial comparing vitamin K supplementation with Ca and vitamin D showed an additional effect of vitamin K against baseline levels of bone mineral density, but the benefit was only seen at one bone site. The major research gap identified was the need to investigate vitamin D status to define deficiency, insufficiency and depletion across age and ethnic groups in relation to bone health.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Dr Margaret Ashwell, email
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2M Ashwell (2005) A review of the Food Standards Agency's Optimal Nutrition Research Programme (N05). Nutr Bull 30, 7684.

4DJ Torgerson & SE Bell-Syer (2001) Hormone replacement therapy and prevention of nonvertebral fractures: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. JAMA 285, 28912897.

5US Barzel (1995) The skeleton as an ion exchange system: implications for the role of acid-base imbalance in the genesis of osteoporosis. J Bone Miner Res 10, 14311436.

6J Green & CR Kleeman (1991) Role of bone in regulation of systemic acid-base balance. Kidney Int 39, 926.

8A Sebastian , ST Harris , JH Ottaway , KM Todd & RC Morris Jr (1994) Improved mineral balance and skeletal metabolism in postmenopausal women treated with potassium bicarbonate. N Engl J Med 330, 17761781.

9DE Sellmeyer , M Schloetter & A Sebastian (2002) Potassium citrate prevents increased urine calcium excretion and bone resorption induced by a high sodium chloride diet. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 87, 20082012.

13RW Jakes , K Khaw , NE Day , (2001) Patterns of physical activity and ultrasound attenuation by heel bone among Norfolk cohort of European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC Norfolk): population based study. BMJ 322, 140.

15KT Khaw , J Reeve , R Luben , S Bingham , A Welch , N Wareham , S Oakes & N Day (2004) Prediction of total and hip fracture risk in men and women by quantitative ultrasound of the calcaneus: EPIC-Norfolk prospective population study. Lancet 363, 197202.

20K Rafferty , KM Davies & RP Heaney (2005) Potassium intake and the calcium economy. J Am Coll Nutr 24, 99106.

21S Jehle , A Zanetti , J Muser , HN Hulter & R Krapf (2006) Partial neutralization of the acidogenic Western diet with potassium citrate increases bone mass in postmenopausal women with osteopenia. J Am Soc Nephrol 17, 32133222.

25C Bolton-Smith , ME McMurdo , CR Paterson , (2007) A two-year randomized controlled trial of vitamin K(1) (phylloquinone) and vitamin D(3) plus calcium on the bone health of older women. J Bone Miner Res 22, 509519.

31M Fahey , C Thane , G Bramwell & W Coward (2007) Conditional Gaussian mixture modelling for dietary pattern analysis. Statistics in Society. J Royal Stat Soc Series A 170, 149166.

32K Jones , L Bluck & W Coward (2006) Analysis of isotope ratios in vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) from human plasma by gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Rapid Comm Mass Spectrom 20, 18941898.

34S Cockayne , J Adamson , S Lanham-New , MJ Shearer , S Gilbody & DJ Torgerson (2006) Vitamin K and the prevention of fractures: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med 166, 12561261.

35MH Knapen , LJ Schurgers & C Vermeer (2007) Vitamin K(2) supplementation improves hip bone geometry and bone strength indices in postmenopausal women. Osteoporos Int. doi: 10.1007/S00198-007-0337-9.

37C Cooper , S Westlake , N Harvey , K Javaid , E Dennison & M Hanson (2006) Review: Developmental origins of osteoporotic fracture. Osteoporos Int 17, 337347.

39MK Javaid , SR Crozier , NC Harvey , (2006) Maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy and childhood bone mass at age 9 years: a longitudinal study [Abstract]. Lancet 367, 3643.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *